General director Charles MacKay announced that the company intended to roll out three new operas in as many years, beginning with Oscar, composed by Theodore Morrison, in 2013.
Higdon has been commissioned to compose an opera based on the Charles Frazier novel "Cold Mountain," which will have its world premiere in 2015 starring Nathan Gunn. Also planned is Weir's Miss Fortune in 2014.
Oscar and Cold Mountain are the first operas for Morrison and Higdon. They are co-commissions and co-productions with Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Morrison is collaborating with librettist John Cox on Oscar. Cox will co-direct alongside Kevin Newbury. The opera uses Wilde's poem "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" for part of its inspiration. It also incorporates documents, letters, conversations and remarks by Wilde's contemporaries as sources for the libretto.
Cold Mountain will have a score by Higdon and a libretto by Gene Scheer. According to Santa Fe Opera, Cold Mountain is the "powerful account of one soldier, W.P. Inman, who deserts the Confederate army as the war is coming to an end and makes his way back to his home on Cold Mountain."
Baritone Nathan Gunn (Camelot), known to theatre audiences for his appearances with the New York Philharmonic, will portray W.P. Inman.
Weir is the composer and librettist of Miss Fortune, which incorporates folk musical idioms into the Sicilian folk tale called "Sfortuna." According to Santa Fe Opera, "She has updated the story to the 21st century making it a topical morality tale about the ups and downs of life and the inconsistencies of fate. The opera is enlivened by a group of acrobats called 'Fates Gang.'"